OCZ 17″ Whitebook Review

OCZ 17″ Whitebook Review

by Charles P. Jefferies

The OCZ Whitebook is a 17-inch high performance gaming notebook. It features dual ATI Radeon video cards in CrossFire and a user-overclockable Intel Extreme quad-core processor. This notebook has the potential for being the fastest notebook we have reviewed to date – join us as we take an in-depth look.

Before I start the review, I would like to give special thanks to Justin Nolte at XoticPC.comfor sending us this review unit.

Our review unit has the following configuration:

  • 17″ WUXGA (1920×1200) Glossy Display (Hardware ID: LGD3901)
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme Mobile QX9300 Quad Core (2.53GHz/12MB L2/1066MHz FSB)
  • Dual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 512MB DDR3 in CrossFire
  • 4GB (2 SODIMMS) DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory
  • 640GB RAID 0 (2x Western Digital 320GB 7200RPM Scorpio Black (WD3200BEKT))
  • Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
  • Built-in Intel PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n
  • Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
  • Integrated Bluetooth EDR
  • Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
  • 12-cell Smart Li-ion Battery (6450mAh/14.8V)
  • Integrated Fingerprint Reader
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit w/ Drivers and Utilities CD’s
  • 3-Year Complete Care Full Parts/Labor Warranty – Next Business Day Shipping both ways – Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll-Free Telephone Tech Support

This configuration is priced at $3,367 as of publishing; it starts at $1,725.63 from XoticPC.com. The most expensive options in our review unit are the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor (+$895), second ATI video card (+$230), and Windows Vista Ultimate (+$195).

Build and Design

The OCZ 17″ Whitebook is large and heavy; it weighs ten pounds with the battery pack, is 15.63 inches wide, 11.81 inches in depth, and is 1.65 inches thick. The appearance of the machine is relatively simple – designer style was not the focus of the engineers. The Whitebook has a traditional rectangular laptop shape, with no out-of-place or erratic design gestures. It is not likely to draw too much attention in public.

The Whitebook is constructed from strong plastic. The majority of the Whitebook’s viewable surfaces, with the exception of the keyboard itself and the sides of the chassis, have a glossy black finish. This machine attracts fingerprints quite easily, so be sure to invest in a some microfiber towels.

The build quality of the notebook is top notch; the Whitebook feels extremely solid. The palmrests and surfaces surrounding the keyboard are inflexible. The chassis resists twisting, indicating a strong internal frame. The lid’s hinges are strong and hold the display in place well. Unfortunately, the lid feels like it could use extra reinforcement since pressing in on the back of the lid produces ripples in the display with only minor effort. The display twists rather easily, though the amount of movement is slightly less than average for a 17-inch notebook. This is a large panel, so a degree of movement is acceptable.

The back of the lid has an illuminated logo; our review unit has an XoticPC badge, which looks attractive. The illumination is not too bright and thus the logo is not that noticeable unless the lights are dimmed.

Overall, the build quality is impressive. The simplistic design is a bonus for many; this is one gaming notebook that you can take anywhere without feeling out of place.


The OCZ Whitebook is offered with one screen only, a 17-inch WUXGA (1920×1200 pixels) panel with a glossy coating. This display is gorgeous; the picture is crystal clear, text is crisp, and there is plenty of contrast. Viewing angles are very good; from the left and right sides there is minimal color inversion, however from up and below inversion is noticeable. The up and below angles are better than those of a typical LCD display, however. For reference, our review unit has an LG panel, model LGD3901.


The OCZ Whitebook has two speakers and a mini subwoofer. The sound quality is average; these speakers have a hint of bass thanks to the subwoofer. The speakers are located directly under the palmrest, which means while typing or gaming the sound will be muffled. These speakers are fine for watching Internet videos and similar, but I will get right to the point and tell you to get external speakers or headphones for a better experience. The Whitebook has many external audio options, including optical out, HDMI (7.1 surround sound), and of course a headphone/analog out jack.

One feature worth mentioning is the volume control knob on the right side of the computer; this is an especially nice feature, as it allows for easy and direct volume control. The touch sliders that many notebook makers use can be inaccurate and unreliable.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The chassis is large enough to accommodate a full-size keyboard and separate number pad. The tactile feedback of the keyboard is excellent; the keys have a relatively soft feel, but they are definitive in a sense that you can tell exactly when they are fully depressed. The keyboard has no flex and is quiet. The keys have a smooth matte surface, which will help resist wear.

A gaming touch are the raised lines on the W, A, S, D, and F keys, which are commonly used in games to control movement. This lets the gamer know where his or her fingers are at all times, without looking at the keyboard.

Some find the layout of the keyboard to be inconvenient. For starters, its number pad has only three columns instead of the traditional four; all of the expected keys are there, but the new arrangement will take getting used to. Secondly, unless numlock is disabled, there are no dedicated home, end, page up, and page down keys; they are embedded in the arrow pad, and the Function key must be pressed to use them. To someone like myself who uses these keys frequently, this is a serious inconvenience. On a notebook as large as this one, there should have been room for those keys.

The keyboard’s backlighting adds to the gaming focus of this machine and is useful for those late-night gaming sessions. The colors can be user-changed; available colors are red, green, and blue. I personally like the blue since it matches the status lights. I would have liked to see slightly brighter backlighting. During the day it is difficult to notice, and even in a dark room it does not stand out.

Overall the keyboard is solid and gives great feedback, but the layout leaves me scratching my head. The backlighting, while dim, is a plus.

The touchpad is traditional and functions as expected. Tracking is easy thanks to the textured matte surface. The right side is a dedicated scroll zone. The buttons are somewhat noisy, but are relatively quiet if pushed down gently.

Input and Output Ports

The Whitebook has a plethora of ports, housing almost every conceivable connection. The eSATA port is much faster than a USB port for connecting an external hard drive, and the HDMI out is great for sending audio and video to an HDTV, projector, or monitor. All in all, the port array is very impressive.

All picture descriptions are left to right.

Left Side: Heat vent, reset button, 7-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard 34/54 slot, hard drive bays (2) (bottom).

Right Side: Volume control knob, headphone jack, microphone jack, IEEE 1394 mini Firewire, USB 2.0 (2), optical out, Kensington lock slot

Back: AC power jack, Coaxial (enabled with TV tuner), heat vent, eSATA port, VGA out, HDMI out, USB 2.0, Ethernet jack

Front: Optical drive


For full details on the performance of the OCZ Whitebook, including benchmarks, please visit the performance and benchmark page.


Our review unit has an Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5300, which supports 802.11a/b/g/draft-N bands. The wireless functions as expected; I had no issues connecting to a variety of G networks.

In addition, our review unit also has built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.


The 12-cell battery is rated for 6450mAh and 14.8V. With the display brightness set to slightly less than half, I measured one hour and fifty minutes of battery life while typing this review, which is actually better than I expected and not bad at all for a gaming notebook as powerful as this one.

The power brick is positively enormous; it weighs about two pounds and provides 220 watts of power.

Operatiing System and Software

XoticPC offers the Whitebook without an operating system or with Windows Vista 32/64-bit. Our review unit has Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Unlike mainstream notebooks, the Whitebook does not come with any junk software pre-installed.

Warranty and Customer Support

XoticPC offers several warranty options; our review unit has the standard three-year, which covers parts and warranty. XoticPC pays for next business day shipping both ways for warranty repairs. Lifetime 24/7 toll-free telephone support is also included.

XoticPC allows customers to return their notebook within 15 days of the ship date for a full refund (minus shipping).

Full details of XoticPC’s warranty services and coverage can be found here.

Heat and Noise

The cooling system is one of, if not the most important part of a gaming notebook. The components in gaming notebooks, such as the quad-core processor and dual ATI video cards in our Whitebook, require significantly more power and thus produce far more heat than typical notebook components.

The Whitebook expels heat from two vents: the one in the top left-hand corner jets air out to the left, and a larger one jets hot air out straight out the back. The air coming out of the vents is quite hot; I measured the back vent exhaust at over 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The Whitebook has a decent cooling system; it keeps the internal components under their maximum rated temperatures, and all surfaces of the notebook remain cool. Even under intense stress testing, the surface of the Whitebook never got above 90 degrees. However, I would prefer if the components such as the processor and video cards were kept a bit cooler. At 100% load, the components were close to but did not reach their maximum rated temperatures.

A side effect of the effective cooling system is the noise it makes – the Whitebook is audible across a medium-sized room under full load. There is noticeable fan whine in addition to the air rushing sound coming out of both vents. In quiet areas, it would not be a good idea to start playing games.

Below are images of surface temperatures I recorded using a laser thermometer. All measurements are in Fahrenheit.

The surface temperatures and even the bottom of the chassis barely increase in temperature under full load. The fans, while noisy at full tilt, definitely expel the majority of the heat; there is not much left for the chassis to dissipate.


The OCZ 17″ Whitebook should be high on the list of anyone looking for a desktop replacement gaming notebook. Thanks to a powerful processor and dual ATI Radeon video cards, it can play all modern games, even Crysis, at maximum resolution and settings without issues. The Whitebook has solid build quality, a good keyboad, excellent screen, and a good cooling system. Even the battery life is decent. The OCZ Whitebook/Force Extreme 840 gets our stamp of approval – this is a true high-end gaming notebook that demanding users will appreciate and enjoy.


  • Stellar overall performance
  • User overclockable processor (Intel Extreme processor required for overclocking)
  • Solid build quality
  • Excellent screen
  • Good keyboard, and it is backlit
  • Stays cool to the touch
  • Expansive array of input/output ports


  • Cooling system is noisy at full tilt
  • Internal components could be kept a bit cooler
  • Keyboard layout is questionable
  • Keyboard backlighting could be brighter
  • Lid could use more reinforcement






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